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Research Summary

Patient Satisfaction with Methadone Maintenance Is Associated with Treatment Retention and Positive Outcomes

Methadone maintenance is an effective treatment for opioid dependence, but many patients drop out of treatment. Little is know about the role of patient satisfaction in treatment outcomes. Researchers studied 283 opioid-dependent subjects entering treatment in 1 of 6 Baltimore area methadone maintenance programs. Patient satisfaction was measured at 3 months using the Texas Christian University Client Evaluation Form (CEF) and was divided into three subscales: Treatment Needs, Treatment Satisfaction, and Counselor Services. Researchers analyzed the relationship between satisfaction and 3-month Addiction Severity Index (ASI) scores, 3-month drug test results, and 12- month treatment retention.

  • Participants who remained in treatment for 12 months reported more satisfaction with treatment at 3 months than those who dropped out.
  • The CEF Treatment Satisfaction and Counselor Services subscales were inversely related to ASI Drug and Legal composite scores as well as to the number of days of heroin and cocaine use reported on the ASI.
  • Participants who reported lower satisfaction on the Treatment Needs subscale were more likely to have drug tests that were positive for heroin or cocaine.


It is not surprising that patient satisfaction correlates with outcomes, and the CEF may be a useful tool for identifying individuals who need additional services. It would be of interest to see if there were differences in patient satisfaction between programs or individual counselors. The important question is whether steps to improve satisfaction will improve outcomes. Darius A. Rastegar, MD


Kelly SM, O'Grady KE, Brown BS, et al. The role of patient satisfaction in methadone treatment. Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse. 2010;36(3):150–4.